The history of the Clumber Spaniel is unclear. Current thinking is that the breed was developed by hunters and gamekeepers in the latter part of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries – who bred dogs to fit function to practical demands. The breed name comes from the Duke of Newcastle’s estate at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, England. A number of titled families and local gentry hunted in that area, known as “the Dukeries,” with Clumber Spaniels, and apparently bred them with the Duke’s dogs to create this fine hunting spaniel. Old pictures of this breed depict them almost always as white and orange, with less bone and smaller heads than today’s breed.
Clumbers were first shown in England in 1859. The breed came to North America in 1844, coming to Canada with a Lieutenant in Her Majesty’s 97th Regiment stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The first Clumber recognized by the American Kennel Club was in 1878, six years before the American Kennel Club was founded.
It is clear is that the breed was created to be low to the ground in order to quickly search through the underbrush while on the hunt. Its low and rolling gait was developed for endurance instead of agility or speed. This is a gentle, loyal and affectionate dog with an intrinsic desire to please.
Clumbers have a life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years, but they are prone to health problems which include dysplasia, skin allergies, ectropion, entropion, and a tendency to become obese. These are not high energy dogs, and they move at a pretty slow pace, but they do require daily walks to keep their weight under control and to alleviate boredom.